Manchester City Council

Cheshire East Council

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EM LawShare considers expanding number of firms for £30m legal services panel

The EM LawShare consortium of public bodies – the largest of its kind in the country with 121 members – is considering expanding the number of partner law firms for its next framework agreement.

The consortium spent £16.2m over the last four years up to and including 2016/17. The six partner firms under the current arrangements are: Bevan Brittan, Browne Jacobson, Freeths, Geldards, Sharpe Pritchard and Weightmans.

EM LawSHare said: “When the first EM LawShare framework contract was let in April 2006 the consortium had 13 members and four partner firms were appointed. By 2010, when the contract was let again, the membership had grown to 45 and five private law firms were appointed. In 2014, when there were 69 members, six private law firms were appointed. This contract ends on 31 March 2018.

“The new contract will be a framework agreement for four years and run from 1 April 2018. The aim is to appoint up to eight private law firms to the new contract.”

The consortium estimates the new contract to be worth around £30m.

The vast majority of EM LawShare’s members are local authorities but they also include NHS trusts, fire and rescue, police, university, national park, town and parish councils and arm's length management organisations.

The consortium was set up in 2006 with members from East Midlands. However, it now has members “as far north as Durham, as far south as Plymouth, as far west as Herefordshire and as far east as Suffolk”. Apart from the East Midlands there is strong representation from the West Midlands and South Yorkshire.

The procurement is being led by Nottinghamshire County Council.

EM LawShare said: “Due to the complexity of this contract, we need to focus our evaluation resources on the qualitative elements of these tenders, therefore reducing the number of candidates to 15-20 to progress to the ITT stage is not unreasonable and allows this objective to be achieved.”

The award criteria are quality (weighting: 50) and price (weighting: 50).

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